homepage logo

LETTERS for November 20 issue

By Staff | Nov 20, 2014

Maui Bus must operate carefully

It is apparent that Maui buses in the Napili area are driven by people who really should not be on the road. The buses are always speeding and pulling out of the Napili Plaza without looking for pedestrians and oncoming vehicles. When on the lower road, they are always over the center lines. It scares me every time I see the Maui Bus while I am driving.

I recently called the bus company to report an incident and was told by a manager that they would call me back after investigating the problem…. no calls back yet! Beware of the bus!



Sugar Cane Train is back?

Hallelujah! Just when we thought we were rid of the Sugar Cane Train that caused a lot of air and noise pollution, two of our politicians were instrumental in reviving a dead horse.

A “nonprofit group” (I wonder who the members are?) managed to “persuade” the former owners to delay dismantling the train tracks.

I would not be surprised if our director of the county Department of Transportation (Jo Anne Johnson Winer) and the representative for West Maui in the State House (Angus McKelvey) are among the members.

Be that as it may, we will finally get to inhale smoke from burning coal again, and excessively loud train whistles will make a comeback.

I just hope that the new owner has very deep pockets. He will need them. He will have to shell out a six-figure amount before the first “new” train will even make its maiden trip. The tracks need to be cleaned, repaired (there were several derailments last year, a danger for all passengers), the train cars are rusting and rotting away and need a serious overhaul, and the HIGHLIGHT of the tour, that little bridge near the Civic Center, is liable to crumble any day now. It would need concrete or steel pillars to make sure it does not go down when a train and the cars roll over it.

As for the name “Sugar Cane Train,” it is a misnomer if I ever heard one. If I were a tourist and ride the “Sugar Cane” Train, I would expect to see at least some sugar cane fields. Fortunately – thank God for that – there has not been a single stalk of sugar cane in West Maui for a long time.

As for a new name, why not call it the “Johnson Winer-McKelvey” train? Not that I think McKelvey is trying to satisfy any vanity; he just wants to be connected with the history of West Maui. He was quoted as saying that he is just happy to preserve a part our history, and who would ever doubt the word of a politician?

Now, all they have to do is start to grow sugarcane in West Maui again to add to the air pollution when it is burned, together with all the chemicals that are needed to grow it in order to justify the name “Sugar Cane Train.” Then everybody would be happy.

Well, maybe just not everybody. Another thought: I am wondering who will issue the permit for the new enterprise? Probably our DOT director… and don’t think there would be a conflict of interest.

As far as I am concerned, I will file a complaint with the EPA because of noise and air pollution as soon as the first train starts rolling. If the EPA should come to the conclusion that the way the train operates is violating environmental regulations – and there is a very good chance of that – and is shutting the whole thing down, I hope that the buyer will get the purchase price refunded.

Lastly, a very long stretch by The Maui News; the paper maintains that “… in its heyday… the train attracted 4,000 passengers per day.” If the train would run nonstop eight hours a day, that would come out to 500 passengers per hour – a number that, with all due respect, I doubt very much. The paper also maintains that the SCT made $10 million to $12 million per year for the owners in the 1990s (and that with ticket prices much lower than the ones passengers had to pay over the last few years). If with lower fares millions were made, then how come that with HIGHER rates, the SCT went belly up?

One thing is for sure: the last word has not been spoken yet. The SCT and its new owner will have to overcome many more hurdles – several of them in the legal department – than they realize in order to operate the SCT the way it did.



Civic duty requires more diligence

Democracy is key to the American experience. You have the right to vote, and most of you exercise that right. This gives us equal say when choosing the persons to best represent our interests.

For many of us, voting is more than a right. It’s a duty. And after weeks (or was it months?) of nonstop television ads, radio clips and mailings, we were happy get it over with. That duty has been fulfilled.

It’s now time to kick back and relax until 2016, right?

Wrong. Our system of governance allows countless opportunities for you to participate. Join a sign-on letter. Contact your local officials. Attend a hearing. These may all lack the popular appeal of November voting, but each can have an impact far greater than the ballot box.

One such opportunity expires on Dec. 1 and will play a big part in determining the health of you, your children and grandchildren for years to come.

Over the next three weeks, we each have a chance to support first-ever limits on carbon pollution. There are already limits on mercury, arsenic and lead. But there are no such limits for carbon, the catalyst behind an increasingly unpredictable climate. That’s wrong.

More Americans than you think are concerned with climate change. Climate deniers are only 8 percent of the population. Unfortunately, they are often the loudest. Join the majority of citizens concerned about future prosperity and quality of life and express support for this historic step. Visit www.cfra.org/clean-energy to learn how.



Thanksgiving: So much to be thankful for

Thanksgiving is much more than a big meal with family and friends. It’s a time to reflect on, and be thankful for, all of the good things you have. Even with all of the uncertainty and turmoil in the world, you have so much to be thankful for. It’s important to be grateful, not just on Thanksgiving but each and every day. Rather than lamenting what you feel is lacking in your life, begin each new day by developing an attitude of gratitude. Take inventory of your blessings, and you will be surprised at just how much you have to be thankful for.

If you have enough to eat, a place to live, a way to get around, people who care about you, or people you care about, then you are wealthy. If you lack any of these elements, you must still be grateful for what you do have while striving to obtain whatever is absent.

Focus on all positive aspects of your life. Take nothing for granted. Every morning, recharge your appreciation. Be happy for everything there is – not upset over what you feel is missing.

Dreams of the future shouldn’t diminish appreciation for the present. If all you do is concentrate on what you want, you won’t enjoy today. Don’t be jealous of others; what they do or have has no bearing on you.

You can feel bitter or resentful for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you feel something is missing from your life, things aren’t going your way, or you have been treated unfairly. You may wonder, “Why do these things always happen to me?”

Life’s problems tend to dominate your thoughts, turning your focus to what you feel is wrong. You may start to resent those who appear to be better off. You’re apt to dwell on things you think would make your life better if you had them. If only you had more money, more time, a bigger house, a different car, a different job, a different boss, had picked a different career, etc.

Once your attitude becomes one of deficiency instead of abundance and appreciation, you can become overwhelmed by feelings of frustration and feel like a victim. As this happens, a consuming vicious cycle starts.

Being bitter or resentful blows situations out of proportion. People who are bitter frequently find that their situations deteriorate and their mental and physical health decays.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to achieve your goals while you are bitter or resentful. Regardless of what challenges might befall you, bitterness makes finding solutions much more elusive.

There is no point to feeling bitter, since it accomplishes nothing, harms you and makes things worse. Filling yourself with gratitude on a daily basis makes you feel good while driving out negative feelings.

Begin your practice of gratitude each morning as soon as you wake. Every day is a great day. If you have any doubts, try missing one. Take inventory of everything, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, that is good in your life.

If it helps, make a written list of all things you are grateful for. Read your list every day. As you do this, you will build and reinforce your attitude of gratitude. Don’t waste any time with what you feel you don’t have.

Keep things in perspective. Consider all the people who have overcome difficulties far worse than yours. Don’t be consumed by your problems; there is always a solution. Maintaining an attitude of gratitude allows your mind to devise a resolution for your circumstances.

Make every day a day of Thanksgiving, and you will be amazed how much better your life will become.